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Morning Brief: COVID Testing, Cannabis Lounges And Goats

A white and blue banner reading "FREE COVID19 TESTING" hangs loosely on a chain link fence. Barbed wire tops the fence and the sun is going down in the background.
A sign announces free COVID-19 Testing in Boyle Heights
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Dec. 21.

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And now, back to the news…

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Winter breaks, holidays, travel and New Year’s are all upon us. At the same time, so are the omicron and delta variants. Holding those two truths, you may be wondering whether you need to get tested for COVID-19 before seeing family and friends. 

The short answer is: yes, whether you’re vaccinated or not.

Speaking to our newsroom’s AirTalk program, Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist and professor of medicine at UCLA’s School of Public Health, said that getting tested before gathering with loved ones is an extra step folks can take to keep everyone safe.

“The tests are very good,” he said. “And so that's one more piece of information. It would be reasonable to test before you go.”

The good news is, there are plenty of testing locations in L.A. County and city. All offer free PCR tests with results ready in 24 to 48 hours, and most offer the option to pay for faster results, should you be so inclined.

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The L.A. County Department of Public Health has issued guidance similar to Brewer’s, and that echoes what we’ve been hearing for nearly two years now: the safest option is gathering just with people in your household, but barring that, mask up, be outdoors, and maintain social distance as the coronavirus turns into a marathon rather than a sprint.

The state of California has issued more firm and specific guidance, advising people to get tested one to three days before a family gathering.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

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Before You Go ... This Week's Outdoor Pick: Goats, Tractors And Wagons

Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, California (Photo by R. E. ~ via the LAist Featured Photos pool)

Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark is hosting their annual Christmas on the Farm. Admission includes a visit to the animal center, tractor-drawn wagon rides, combine and harvester slides and lots of photo opportunities.

Or, you could: Listen to an all-star lineup play classic albums by the Sex Pistols and Lou Reed. Watch Hollywood veterans tell tales from the trenches. Catch Bob Baker’s marionettes take on The Nutcracker. See the siege of Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard. And more.

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